It’s 1942, World War II North Africa. Tank commander Sergeant Joe Gunn (Humphrey Bogart) has been separated from his unit. A general retreat is ordered after the fall of Tobruk and German forces are now on the advance.
In his tank Lullabelle Gunn, with buddies Jimmy (Dan Duryea) and Waco (Bruce Bennett) are traversing the Sahara desert. They encounter a group of Allied stranglers who join them. They’re all hoping to not only rejoin British forces, but also find some water which they are now dangerously low on. To add even more drama, they capture a downed Luftwaffe pilot.
They finally manage to find a dry well, but it happens to be dripping out enough water for the group to quench their thirst. Hoping to continue on, they then discover a German battalion badly in need of water are headed to the well.
Now they can either run or stay and fight to delay their advance until Allied reinforcements arrive. Knowing this could be a fruitless, but vital tactical move, all the men agree to stay and fight.
It is then a battle of wills begins between the small band of Allies and the thirsty weak Germans. Who will prevail?
Sahara was a huge box office hit when it hit theaters in 1943. It not only contained patriotic propaganda that permeated Hollywood war films at the time time to gain support for the war, but it was also an exciting adventure film. With great performances by Bogart and the cast, Sahara has remained as thrilling and gripping a movie as when it first came out.
The story of a desperate desert standoff had been done before and after. Then in 1995 a made-for-cable remake of Sahara premiered. Starring James Belushi as Sgt. Gunn, the remake of Sahara retold the sandy WW2 story of a small group of Allies defending a dry well from a German battalion.
I take a look at both the 1943 classic war film and the 1995 remake.